Horsepower in a Lightweight Package
Suzuki has been building great off-road vehicles for decades. While a few J-series Suzukis made it to North America through private means, it wasn't until the 1986 introduction of the Samurai that everyone sat up and took notice that another capable off-road rig was available. Suzuki continued to import the Samurai to the United States until 1994. The Sidekick/Tracker arrived on the scene as an upscale (from the bare-bones Samurai) sport ute that offered more comfort and convenience while still being a capable off-road vehicle. Not many in the off-road world took much notice at the time, but the Sidekick/Tracker continued to sell and work well.
Suzuki Lightning Conversions of Tampa, Florida, started stuffing V8 and V6 mills into Samurais 16 years ago. The 2WD V8 models were lightning fast, and the V6 models were also pretty peppy because of the weight of the vehicle. It continued doing these conversions but looked into doing the Sidekicks a few years ago because of demand from potential customers. It turned out that the 4.3 Vortec V6 fits easily in the Sidekick and turns it into a world-beater. Air conditioning (if equipped) and all other amenities still work too.
Suzuki Lightning Conversion's complete kit includes a crated 4.3 Vortec fuel-injected V6 with computer, 700R4 automatic transmission, engine and transmission mounts, all brackets and engine-mounted parts (front dress, etc.), radiator, and Tom Wood driveshafts. The company also offers the kit without the engine and tranny for those who already have them. The Sidekick conversion you see here includes an Advance Adapters Atlas transfer case and a Calmini 3+3 suspension.
The kits are completely bolt-on, and there are no clearance problems. Suzuki Lightning also does the conversions at its shop in Tampa if you can get your vehicle there. It also offers complete Sidekicks, Trackers, or Samurais built to order.
We've known the crew at Suzuki Lightning Conversions for many years and can report that their conversions work very well and turn Suzukis into rockets. Alan Kempton, the owner, answers the phone 24 hours a day to address any technical questions you might have if you're performing the swap yourself.